Home care prevents cognitive and functional decline in frail elderly.Arch Gerontol Geriatr Suppl. 2004AG
Today home health care (HHC) programs have been developed in numerous Western countries, in order to answer the questions regarding the care of frail elderly suffering from polypathologies and, therefore, being at high risk of disability. The HHC program of the Israelite Hospital of Rome has been planned as a complementary model, and not as a substitute of hospitalization, being able to offer flexible services, suitable for each elderly patient. The present study has established that taking care of old patients in their home allows us to prevent the deterioration of cognitive performance and functional impairments,as measured by the mini mental state examination (MMSE), the scales of activity of daily living (ADL), and the instrumental activity of daily living (IADL), respectively. We found considerable improvements also in the mood disorders during HHC, as measured by the geriatric depression scale (GDS). All psychometric tests were administered at the beginning of home care and after almost 1 year. Moreover, we formulated some questions regarding the quality of the offered services, and the answers revealed great satisfaction of both the patients and their caregivers.